Neighbors raise a stink over proposed slaughterhouse

By Heather Sorentrue, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, August 30, 2010

Neighbors are fighting to stop a slaughterhouse from going up near their homes.

The proposed slaughterhouse would be built on a 25-acre property off Soto Road.

Peer Ali Zafarali, who owns the land, says he's so fed up with all the opposition, he just wants to forget about it.

However, the rest of his family is pushing forward to get a permit from Lake County to slaughter as many as 50 animals a day.

The Zafaralis say it would be a small scale family business to slaughter animals for the area's Muslim community.

Julie Noland lives nearby, and says she and other neighbors want no part of it.

"I'm concerned about the bad smell and I know something about that, Noland said. "My husband works at the beef packing plant in Center Hill. And he worked at one in Georgia. And I know what they smell like.

Noland says it's a smell she doesn't want to come home to every day.

The Zafaralis say the slaughterhouse would be an entirely enclosed 6,000 square-foot building, so they argue neighbors wouldn't smell anything.

The proposed slaughterhouse would be just under a mile, about 4,200 feet from the back of the Royal Highlands Subdivision, and it would be about a 1,000 feet from the closest neighbor.

Lake County's staff says the slaughterhouse is an acceptable use for the land.

Lake County commissioners will have the final say, and likely plenty of input from residents.

"There's a lot of people. We got petitions signed. And we definitely don't want it. I hope they don't go through with it, said Steve Edmondson, neighbor.

Lake County commissioners denied the family's first request to build a slaughterhouse a year ago.

The family sued.

A circuit judge found Lake County did not offer enough justification, and ordered commissioners to vote on it again.

That vote is set for Oct. 26.

Zafarali family statement

We the Zafarali family see a lot of biased, racist people here in America and certainly unquestionable professionalism in the Lake County Commission members. My family has lived here for 14 years and has about 85 acres of land with which 25 acres of land is going to be used for a family business. My father in-law is well known to the community and has helped many of our neighbors. It really surprises me how one of our neighbor's houses was on fire and my father out of the kindness of his heart was the first one over there to help. Another neighbor needed help to petition for an airport and my father helped. There are many other situations that I can go on for days but what it boils down to my father is a good man no matter who you are he will give you the shirt off his back to help you. Now we would like to open a small meat processing facility on our property and the neighbors are complaining. The council members for our district showed a lack of professionalism. Right now things are hard and people do need to eat and we think that this will be a great business. We will obey by any rules or codes that need to be followed. We want to help our community but our residents in the surrounding area are complaining about birds, smells, animals screaming, property values and are giving wrong facts without evidence. We want to do this business in an enclosed soundproof facility.This is a legal agricultural area and we are being stopped from doing business. We have the perfect location where you cannot see any houses, we live way out in the country area. We have 12 people currently living on the property and if you look into this we have 3 areas which we divided into 5 acres each for each of the siblings for future building of our houses, so we are just as well concerned.

I feel that we are not being judged fairly or being heard we asked for a continuation for the first meeting cause we didn't know how to address this situation and we hired a lawyer last day. Jim Conner wanted us to go ahead since we were there and didn't want to waste anyone's time and they denied us based on public say with no correct facts or correct evidence on the first meeting. So we got another lawyer to fight this case and it went to a judge, which squash the case. So here we are again for a second meeting this past Tuesday and we were prepared to fight. The opposing side asked for a continuation and of course it was granted so they can prepare. They say they didn't have time to prepare but there were notices sent out by mail for those who are in a certain range in our area out and signs on our property. So now we have to wait another 60 days for them to prepare. We need to stop fight[ing] and come together and this is about provid[ing] food. Where do you think food come from? How far do you want us to move this meat processing facility 5 mile, 10 miles....what would be the proper distance? There are always residential communities that come into the country area. What about our right as owners for our property?